About the Photographer
American, b. 1940
For Changing Chicago in the late 1980s, Susan Crocker photographed at various construction sites in Chicago's Loop, focusing on the ironworkers, also known as the "raising gang," who construct the skyscraper's steel skeletal structure at astounding heights. In her photographs the visual excitement of this unusual environment is paired with an interest in the human element, which balances between a sense of machismo and an awareness of the precariousness and danger inherent in this particular line of work.
One of the largest documentary photography projects ever organized in an American city, Changing Chicago commissioned thirty-three photographers to document life throughout Chicago's diverse urban and suburban neighborhoods. The project was launched in 1987 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the invention of photography and the 50th anniversary of the Farm Security Administration documentary project, which provides its inspirational model. Changing Chicago honors the tradition of the FSA project, but it moved away from its predecessor's ambition of inspiring social change towards the more general goal of providing a nuanced description of the human experience in a particular geographic area. Sponsored by the Focus/Infinity Fund of Chicago, the project was organized with the support of the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Field Museum of Natural History, the Chicago Historical Society, and the Chicago Office of Fine Arts, Chicago Public Library Cultural Center. In the spring of 1989 the five institutions mounted concurrent exhibitions devoted to the project.
Crocker studied at Briarcliff College in Briarcliff, New York (1958-62). She has taught photography at Manhattenville College in Purchase, New York.